Ideas Kill: Science sheds light on massacres.


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ChrisPer
October 16, 2006, 10:36 AM
I have prepared an article on something the mainstream media have not given much play: the media reports themselves are apparently a prime cause of massacres. The news report that almost certainly inspired the Port Arthur massacre featured Roland Browne, a green-left public advocate type lawyer, and Rebecca Peters, now of IANSA.

Ideas Kill Article (http://www.c-l-a-s-s.net/Ideas%20Kill%20-%20Science%20and%20the%20Massacre%203.pdf)

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ChrisPer
October 16, 2006, 11:01 AM
I worked on this for months; you don't like it? Pity.

Edit: this comment refers to a needlessly critical and decidedly non-High-Road post by a troll that has since been deleted.

-Coronach

pax
October 16, 2006, 11:03 AM
Wow, excellent paper.

Worth the read!

pax

TexasRifleman
October 16, 2006, 11:08 AM
Like many of these arguments, it's tough to get cause=effect directly, but you make a very good argument.

Thanks for posting it.

What do you plan to do with that paper and why did you write it?

jfh
October 16, 2006, 11:08 AM
an excellent read.

I suggest the poster C&P some of the fundamental observations to provide a direct context.

WayneConrad
October 16, 2006, 11:15 AM
Very well written. I like both the form and the content.

It needs just one thing for us Yanks: A very short prologue with the who, what, and where of the Port Arthur Massacre.

But that would only be a minor improvement on an already excellent paper.

Sylvan-Forge
October 16, 2006, 11:29 AM
ChrisPer, very good paper.
Thanks for sharing.



'Tis a fine line between informing the public and giving publicity.

Refer to the act. If people just have to know the name, let them search for the initial reports.

Word will get around nonetheless, but why aid the scum in glorifying their names in every followup report?

I do not say make up some stupid law. Only that media should attempt to conduct itself with honor. If you are re-reporting a story, omit the names.
Reference the original report as is professional courtesy.

If at all possible,
Utter not the identities of foulness.

Oleg Volk
October 16, 2006, 01:39 PM
Very good write-up.

GoRon
October 16, 2006, 06:52 PM
Excellent article.

Thanks for the link.

Y.T.
October 16, 2006, 06:57 PM
A bit of anecdotal evidence in support of copycat theory.
There was a series of self-immolations some time ago in spring of 2003 in Czech Republic.

There was media coverage of each one, and the first one (in march 2003) probably also reported the character and possible motivations of the suicide.
A 19 yr old student was in trouble for running a website about "darkers", people who throw switches on local high voltage (several kilovolt range) power lines for fun.

There were five attempts in april of 2003, and eight more during the following year.

Some people argue, that it's not caused by media coverage of these suicides, but because of media coverage of commemorations of the self-immolation of Jan Palach.
He set himself on fire in january of 1969, in protest against the Warsaw Pact occupation of Czechoslovakia**.
Two more people did the same thing in the following year. Palach may have been inspired* by a polish Home Army fighter and lawyer Ryszard_Siwiec.
(information was supressed, but rumours spread among people who trusted each other)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryszard_Siwiec
(Who did a much better job of it)...

**Then the most neutral country in world. We couldn't even meddle in our own affairs. (Preceding sentence is a joke)

ctdonath
October 16, 2006, 07:23 PM
I worked on this for months; you don't like it? Pity.Dude! You posted it for a whole 25 minutes when most people were just getting to work! Slow down! You took time to write it, give us time to read it. :eek:

WayneConrad
October 16, 2006, 07:32 PM
ctdonath, there used to be a post between #1 and #2, from a fellow who was unreservedly critical. #2 is referring to that now missing post.

Car Knocker
October 16, 2006, 07:37 PM
Thank you for making this paper available.

ctdonath
October 16, 2006, 07:43 PM
Ah.

Dr.Who
October 16, 2006, 07:48 PM
Thanks... Looks good.... Is this a paper for Fun, School or political purposes?

carpediem
October 16, 2006, 07:52 PM
Nice work.

LoveMyCountry
October 16, 2006, 08:19 PM
:confused: :confused: :confused:

Isn't this the same thing as saying that it wasn't my fault, the movie/game/cartoon made me do it?


Insane people can fixate on anything.


LoveMyCountry

Sistema1927
October 16, 2006, 08:52 PM
Well written, yes.

Important? I think not. As has been said by at least one other, there are plenty of other models for the insane to follow, should they desire. In the end, each person is responsible for thier own actions.

jlbraun
October 16, 2006, 09:10 PM
Wait wait wait. I don't like this article, and I don't like the premise or the conclusion.

How can we hold that "guns don't kill, the person holding it does", yet also say that "ideas kill, and those who spread ideas are responsible for what people do with those ideas?" As gun owners, we should be very suspicious of any statement that implies anything other than the person themselves is responsible for all their actions, for good or bad.

I really don't like where this article goes. There's a very short path between saying that spreading an idea about killing makes one partially responsible for the killings that occur, and actively arresting those that spread ideas that are "dangerous". :scrutiny: :scrutiny: :scrutiny:

MrTuffPaws
October 16, 2006, 09:24 PM
I really don't like where this article goes. There's a very short path between saying that spreading an idea about killing makes one partially responsible for the killings that occur, and actively arresting those that spread ideas that are "dangerous".

+1. Nothing is easier than pointing the finger of blame.

ctdonath
October 16, 2006, 09:35 PM
Interesting article.

Actually, I saw some reference (didn't look into it) to comparable effect a few months ago: that a very significant number of dramatic fatal traffic accidents can be traced back to someone being told not long before that traffic accidents are dramatic and fatal, with details given. Sounds kinda silly, but amounts to people are not prone to doing something unless they've heard of it. Similar here: many killers do so significantly in part becuase they got the idea somewhere else.

How can we hold that "guns don't kill, the person holding it does", yet also say that "ideas kill, and those who spread ideas are responsible for what people do with those ideas?"Realistically, little that people do is not based on others having already done it. Few people come up with new, and especially dangerous, ideas on their own out of the blue.

As oft noted, there were practically no school shootings when kids were allowed to bring guns to school.
As oft noted (including the lead paper here), a great many mass shootings are modeled after some event, game, movie, news report, etc.

We hold the actor (perp) 100% responsible because it was his choice to engage in the activity. Nobody else made them do it.
Most likely, however, they got the idea from somewhere. In our "information age", a great many suggestions are thrust upon most people. These suggestions do have influence (witness advertising - trillions spent not for naught). Once in a great while, someone takes that idea and chooses to act on it.

The central issue is choice (as Leftists so love in word and hate in deed). People choose to expose themselves to violent ideas. Be thankful that so few choose to act similarly.

It's not the guns.
It's not the media.
It's those few who choose to act out both in a knowingly lethal manner.

Spartacus451
October 16, 2006, 09:36 PM
I think I will drop it on the lunch table at work...

jlbraun
October 16, 2006, 09:42 PM
@ctdonath

I still don't like it. I don't think that it's all that hard to go from "People can have ideas to do bad things." to "Likely, they got their ideas from somewhere else." to "Those who spread dangerous ideas should be careful" to "ideas by themselves are dangerous, and we should carefully control what ideas are allowed to spread" to "arrest and detain this person, his ideas are dangerous." to "Disappear this person. (bang!) (whump)".

What about when Catholicism or Christianity or Islam or Buddhism or Jainism or atheism or owning guns is declared a "dangerous idea"?

The problem is, if I say that X is a "dangerous idea", there's no way to prove me wrong. My ability to persuade you is all the proof I'll ever need.

If anything, this article shows that what is needed is more learning on how to resist the pull of ideas to do harmful things NOT restrict ideas that are dangerous, and hold those who spread them accountable. The former is "critical thinking", the latter is NON-thinking and frankly scary.

Am I being too "liberal"?

:scrutiny:

GoRon
October 16, 2006, 09:51 PM
One has to wonder if it isn't so much the fact that the events are reported by the media but HOW they are reported.

The wall to wall crises mode the news shifts into creates the impression that the event is an even bigger deal than it is. Breathless reporters, experts weighing in with expert opinions, it is all part of news as entertainment.

The weak minded motivated by evil see it as a chance to be the star of the circus.

pax
October 16, 2006, 10:01 PM
Companies pay millions of dollars for a few brief seconds of advertising space during the Super Bowl. They pay that money because they believe that the message they put out will alter the viewers' behavior.

And ... it does. Advertising works.

Does that mean it's the advertisers' fault that I ate at Jack in the Box yesterday? Nope, that was my very own choice.

But there's no doubt that human behavior is in fact influenced by what we see on the tube.

If it weren't, you can be sure that the big companies' execs would be pocketing that cash instead of spending it.

pax

ctdonath
October 16, 2006, 10:05 PM
jlbraun,
Dang straight owning guns is a dangerous idea.
Dang straight freedom of speech is a dangerous idea.
Dang straight religion is a dangerous idea.
So are all the other ideas in the Bill Of Rights. The whole Constitution is dangerous.
Freedom is dangerous.
Liberty is dangerous.

And life is pretty darn nasty, brutish and short without them.

We answer the "but it's dangerous!" charge with "the alternative is WORSE!"
Resist prohibition with education.
Replace fear & loathing with understanding & respect.

"Liberals" started with the notion that one should have the liberty to do what one saw fit as proper ... then replaced it with the liberty to do anything ... then learned what unrestrained liberty meant ... then, having forgotten why some things were "proper", and see the harm of unrestrained indulgence, now seek to prohibit "proper" because they cannot discern "proper" from "improper" and won't let go of their indulgences.

Yes, we face the risk of tyrrany suppressing ideas.
Al Gore and his Church of the Warming Earth faithful seek now to have Nurenburg-type trials for unbelievers.
We must, as our Founding Fathers did, stand up for the liberty to do what is right.
It won't be easy for us either.

jlbraun
October 16, 2006, 10:50 PM
We answer the "but it's dangerous!" charge with "the alternative is WORSE!"

We might say that, but the article doesn't. The article is titled "Ideas Kill" and says straight up: "The string of mass killings was partly caused by the way our media culture sends the script to the killers." The article is very clear.

Sylvan-Forge
October 17, 2006, 12:01 AM
Jibraun's got it.

ChrisPer, a suggestion;

re: Responsibility on perps:
In uses of wording "cause" should be changed to "influence".


Best Regards,
oo7

Crosshair
October 17, 2006, 01:34 AM
I like it but it seems a bit short, are you planing a longer writeup that goes into more detail?

thexrayboy
October 17, 2006, 02:04 AM
Exellent article, well written and persuasive. The kind of article that should have the liberals foaming at the mouth and howling for your hide because it
effectively demonstrates a rational for this behavior that does not fit the agenda they have. Hope you get it published. In fact I hope it gets seen far and wide. Have we permission to forward this via the web if we choose?

ChrisPer
October 17, 2006, 10:41 AM
Friends, for context we have just had the tenth anniversary of Dunblane and the Port Arthur Massacre, which resulted in:

confiscation of all Australian semi-auto rifles including 22s
Confiscation of all semiauto and pump shotguns
Confiscation of all Britain's target pistols.

As well as three years of media hate against shooters and their sport.

I was particularly struck by the work of Robert Cialdini on influence, especially when he raised the point that school shootings were seen as a new way out for kids, and the influe nce of teenagers strong tendency to imitate peers.

The 'spookily accurate' quote forecasting the massacre in Tasmania is the clue that had me reading more and more articles to get the evidence. The forensic psychs already had published their acceptance of this scenario, to a big yawn from most of the media.

The anti-gun activists in question are still of interest to RKBA activists - Rebecca Peters featured in the critical TV segment, and those who have followed the recent UN shenanigans know who she is!

The piece is too short, because I was trying to find a print publisher and you need to be short. They all turned it down, so I have put it on the CLASS website.

As for blaming the media instead of the perp, I thoroughly agree it is problematic. We have to maintain perspective, but if they choose to shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre can we not point it out? The facts about this effect are known. There CAN be more than one cause, as those here with industrial safety experience know.

And I think we have cowered under the prohibitionists' ethical lash for too many decades. They CAUSED extra massacres - if they accuse citizens because they innocently own a gun, it is time to acknowledge activists and media types are directly complicit in massacre deaths.

ChrisPer
October 17, 2006, 10:46 AM
Also, I grant permission to link, re-post and reproduce this article in other web locations provided it is not manipulated to change the meaning. Print publication rights may be obtained; please email thinkfocus@iinet.com.au.

Chris Allen

oh blanky
October 17, 2006, 12:46 PM
Good writeup, but you lost me at "Our news culture probably caused not one, but a string of massacres."

Correlation does not offer proof of anything. Never has, never will.

jlbraun
October 17, 2006, 01:31 PM
"Exellent article, well written and persuasive. The kind of article that should have the liberals foaming at the mouth and howling for your hide because it
effectively demonstrates a rational for this behavior that does not fit the agenda they have."

Are you kidding? This is exactly the kind of article a LEFTIST needs to promote persecution of religious people. "Christianity is dangerous, because it drives people to bomb abortion clinics. Arrest Christians, before they go and kill someone. Their ideas about "protecting life" are dangerous!"

Declaring that ideas are "dangerous" is cancerous to the Republic and is incompatible with a free society. It's a prior-restraint argument based on people's potential to commit a harm. Apply prior restraint to guns, we argue against it. Apply prior restraint to ideas, and people laud it. I don't get it. Saying that "ideas kill" sounds to me exactly like a lefty screeching "guns kill!"

Is anyone getting this at all? Sheesh. I thought this was The High Road. Y'all kind of disappoint me.

Yowza
October 17, 2006, 01:46 PM
All I see the article doing is stating that the news coverage of these incidents is "rewarding bad behaviour." You may not see it as such, after all who wants their name to become synonymous with a mass killing? But some crazy people out there don't need a big push to commit an act like this, they just need some push. And being forever infamous is appealing to certain people.

Anyway, this article doesn't say anything that I haven't suspected for quite some time. It just provides a bit of documentation offering some evidence of a correlation. There's certainly nothing there that even vaguely promotes or offers reason for religious persecution.

I think you're focusing on the inflammatory title too much JL, and not the actual article.

Rick

jlbraun
October 17, 2006, 02:01 PM
All I see the article doing is stating that the news coverage of these incidents is "rewarding bad behaviour." You may not see it as such, after all who wants their name to become synonymous with a mass killing? But some crazy people out there don't need a big push to commit an act like this, they just need some push. And being forever infamous is appealing to certain people.

Anyway, this article doesn't say anything that I haven't suspected for quite some time. It just provides a bit of documentation offering some evidence of a correlation. There's certainly nothing there that even vaguely promotes or offers reason for religious persecution.

I think you're focusing on the inflammatory title too much JL, and not the actual article.

Rick

Consider this article from (hold your nose) the Brady Campaign:

http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/factsheets/pdf/guns_domestic_violence.pdf

"Guns and domestic violence make a deadly combination. Over half of family murders are caused by firearms."

And from the article "Ideas Kill":

""The string of mass killings was partly caused by the way our media culture sends the script to the killers.""

Cognitive dissonance ain't healthy.

:scrutiny:

AmbulanceDriver
October 17, 2006, 02:03 PM
So as I'm reading this article, and reading the responses to this article, I'm struck by a couple of points.

It seems that many of you believe this article promotes some type of censorship or restriction on thought or ideas. I really don't see that as the case at all.

The basic premise of this article seems to me to be that it is not the idea of the killings that spurs these "copycat" killers on. Instead, the inference seems to be that the glamorization, and sensationalization of the killers, the media's nearly hysterical idolatry of the killer, their motives, their writings, their psyche, even what they had for breakfast the morning of the killings (ok, slight hyperbole, but you see where I'm going) that seems to be the impetus for these copycat killers. They (the copycats) want the notoriety, the apparent adulation, the "15 minutes of fame" from "outdoing" the last mass murderer, the last school killer, the last nutjob. None of this is to say that the media is directly responsible for the strings of killings that occur, rather, the psychopaths that commit these crimes must be held responsible for their actions. DON'T give them the fame they crave. Report the crime, then DROP it. Treat their crime like any other crime. DON'T spend months reporting EVERY LITTLE SORDID DETAIL about their lives. If they are caught, when they are convicted, do a brief story, then DROP IT again. Let them disappear into obscurity where they belong.

DogBonz
October 17, 2006, 02:21 PM
I don’t remember who said that, but it’s true. Death is certain. But some people’s legacy will “live” forever. Some people will never be forgotten as long as there are history books and people to read them. Take people like Plato, Alexander the Great, Julius Ceasar, etc. These people’s ideas, words, and actions have stood the test of time. In today’s world full of coast to coast broadcasts, high speed internet, 1000 channels of direct TV, etc, those who desire notoriety can take the easy road and just become famous’ evil twin, infamous. It takes a lot of skill, talent, perseverance, and often, luck, to find one’s self in a historically note worthy position. To be come infamous, all that is needed is the will to become so.

Joe Gunns
October 17, 2006, 09:04 PM
Of course ideas kill. Despite the sensational title, the point of the article is the need for responsibility and restraint on the part of the media. It is a call for them to "grow up," realize what unintended consequences their reporting can produce and approach their reporting with restraint and judgement rather than hysteria and drama. Therefore, it is not an attack on freedom, but a call for responsibility, and no more inherently inflamatory than asserting that careless trigger-finger-discipline kills.

:evil: OTOH, given the quality of average tv reportage I think its complete repression would do wonders for the quality of life of the average individual by reducing their free-floating stress and anxiety significantly. :neener:

ChrisPer
October 17, 2006, 09:35 PM
AmbulanceDriver, thanks! You get it.

I want the press to have freedom to address what they want, but we are seeing evidence - true, correlative evidence rather than proof of causation - that the RESULTS of their work are sometimes unintentionally deadly. Note too that media is only one vector of deadly ideas. The suicide clusters in indigenous communities do not come from watching 60 Minutes, but word of mouth between friends and family.

Y.T.
November 1, 2006, 07:42 AM
Maybe this is what the Japanese mean by "stand-alone complex". Figuring out that phrase is very hard.

Double Naught Spy
November 1, 2006, 10:04 AM
The focus on the notion of ideas resulting in copycat events seems to work until you realize that these folks would be doing something bad anyway. The events they copy is just a plan of convenience, not a cause.

As noted, the word "cause" as used in the paper is inappropriate. There is not cause and effect noted here, just correlation. Correlation is not sufficient to justify causation. So if you want to talk about this in the framework of "Science sheds light on massacres" then the correct wording needs to be used.

The title of the paper gives the impression that ideas are the blame since ideas kill and so the paper is supposed to shed light on this through a review of scientific writings. The ideas are being blamed as a result of the pattern of copycat events, said events reported in the media. The problem here is that not all significant negative events are copycatted and there is no way to know which events will or will not be copycatted. The notion also fails to explain away the reason for the initial event that is later copied.

Then inside the paper is a thinly veiled attempt at showing how guns are not the blame and that gun laws don't work. From a technical standpoint, this is an off topic aside as the paper is supposed to show how it is that ideas are the problem. This singular anti gun control seque seems to reflect a personal and non objective agenda as the author didn't address any other issues. He just seems to trying to be replacing the evil gun doctrine with a new evil ideas doctrine as if guns were the only other causative factor in massacres.

ChrisPer
November 3, 2006, 12:54 AM
Double Naught, you are on target. I wrote that article in a huge sense of outrage that the activists, that gave us Australian shooters so much hate, were likely to have been part of the actual chain of causation of the Port Arthur Massacre.

That was never true of Joe hunting pigs in Queensland, or Pete shooting cowboy action in Melbourne. Yet they are the ones who were treated as morally obnoxious and had their rights taken.

I wrote it to try and get someone to publish, which meant it had to be cut to very few words. A lot got left out.

For instance, according to Cialdini's book, Phillips showed that the spike in suicides caused by contagion were extra deaths. While some might have been suicidal anyway, there was no dip in average suicides after the spike returned to normal. This strongly indicates that the script getting through is not just an accelerator, but encourages completions that would otherwise have been just an unfulfilled tendency.

c_yeager
November 3, 2006, 06:24 AM
I'm an old fashioned sort of guy. I happen to think that the single greatest causative factor in massacres is having a person with the desire, means, and opportunity to massacre other people. Information, no matter how it is framed, is no more the cause of a massacre than the presence of a weapon. In fact, it is *less* causative. A person can (and obviously has) initiated a massacre without ever knowing that another person has done so, they would not however be able to create one without some kind of weapon (even if its just a hefty stick).

The very idea that information somehow causes crazy people to do crazy things is quite possibly more dangerous than the idea that weapons cause the same behavior, neither is true, and even if there was truth in it the societal benefit from the freedom of both *vastly* outweighs the societal cost of a restriction to either.

Lets address the idea of this "script" that is oft mentioned here. For the purpose of this argument lets stipulate that the idea of scripting is valid. The cultural script that is being followed by mass killers is a chapter in the same volume that teaches all other cultural values. Eliminate the script, and you eliminate those values along with the "murder script". Lets just say that one could excise just that portion of the script without taking out anything else. What does that mean? Every person in the culture has read that "chapter" only an infintesimal quantity have murdered as a result, what do the rest get out of it? Is it possible that even that little bit is of significant value to the vast majority of people? Maybe the existance of that script is what keeps massacres from happening more often? Maybe sitting around the water cooler at work talking about how idiotic these people are teaches some potential killers that it isnt such a great idea. Knowing that the story ends with suicide and post-mortem ridicule might just turn some people from that path.

Coronach
November 3, 2006, 06:43 AM
As for blaming the media instead of the perp, I thoroughly agree it is problematic. We have to maintain perspective, but if they choose to shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre can we not point it out? The facts about this effect are known. There CAN be more than one cause, as those here with industrial safety experience know. Right. Repeating "it's not this, it's that" is a false dichotomy. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that no one who has posted favorably in reference to this article believes that the perp is not responsible for killing the victims. The blame is his. However, we do a disservice to society by not examining what role other influences play in such tragic events.

I can, for example, be massively stressed out at work, come home, and beat my wife (I'll end up in the morgue because she is ornery, a blackbelt, and can run a H&K P7 as well as I can, but I let's ignore that for the moment). Whose fault is this? Mine. Does it make sense, though, to pay some attention to the role that my workplace stress has upon my violent action? Absolutely. Does it make my wife's battery (and my subsequent untimely arrival in a shallow grave out back) my supervisor's fault? Nope. But it also does not mean that this happened in a vaccuum. Clearly the stress played a role.

Where the blissninnies go astray is when then start blubbering "boo hoo, it wasn't his fault, he was all stressed out." No, no- it was his fault. And he was stressed out.

Mike

ChrisPer
November 6, 2006, 02:34 AM
Many thanks for the positive and helpful criticisms. I have just re-posted the article as html at http://www.c-l-a-s-s.net/ideas_kill.htm with an additional image of a certain anti-gun apparatchik (now at IANSA) who helped produce the TV segment in question.

In the recent outbreak of words over the school shootings I am encouraged to se Dave Kopel and others referring to the copycat aspects. I think the idea should be translated to guidelines for media, particularly as an aspect of the war on terrorism.

It is susceptible to citizen action too. Standards can be changed. Even Al Jazeera can be in turn affected by the responses of media people, and then I like to think we might see the collapse of terrorism.

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